Adrian Roye & The Exiles - Reclaimed
Adrian Roye & The Exiles easily lead the 'afro-folk' pack as the genre begins to gather pace, with the release of their debut album Reclaimed. On the surface they appear to be a standard four piece, albeit with a cello thrown into the mix, and whilst their tools may be "business as usual", the way they use them is refreshing in a sea of samey acoustic-folk acts. The percussion, rather than a bolshy time-keeping measure, is creative and almost tranquil against the jaunty melodies executed by the rest of the band. Roye's tones are mellow yet raw - the depth of emotion in opening track 'Plastic Bag Goldfish' is merely the tip of the iceberg. Add a mandolin and melancholic cello lines into the mix and you have one of the more interesting releases so far this year.
'Fear Of Phantoms' is the best example of the contrast Roye and co manage to perfect across the LP. A buoyant bass line carries the bittersweet poetry, reminiscent of the Caribbean and a great male/female vocal combination making this one the strongest tracks. Influences from jazz through to funk are prominent throughout, but rather than attempting to mimic like the majority of acts fighting for exposure, Adrian Roye & The Exiles have managed to channel their inspiration and blend it into a genre which they may soon call their own.